British Tory Arthur Bryant's
and its Defense by Albert Jay Nock
Michael J. Bernstein
Land and Freedom, July-August 1941]
A profound contempt for the mass of mankind underlies the philosophy
of totalitarianism, whether fascist or communist. But more difficult
to discern is the same contempt masquerading under a cloak of
liberalism, of which Albert Jay Nock's doctrine of the "educable
elite" is an interesting example. And in times of crisis such as
the world is now experiencing, it is not surprising -- indeed, it is
inevitable that the basic sympathy which ultimately unites these
haters of their fellow-men, should prove far stronger than the
superficial differences which divide them.
In the April, 1941 issue of Scribner's Commentator. Mr. Nock
discusses "Unfinished Victory" by Arthur Bryant, published
in England in 1940 (though written before the outbreak of the war),
and waxes indignant at the failure of any American firm to publish the
book in this country. Mr. Nock suspects a conspiracy, a Jewish
conspiracy in fact, to prevent the American public from reading what
he considers a most important book, an "able, cogent and
gentle-spirited book," as he calls it. Mr. Nock dislikes Britain,
he has a scarcely-concealed sympathy for present-day Germany, and his
admiration for "Unfinished Victory" supports the view that
he subscribes to Mr. Bryant's thinly-veiled anti-Semitism. (See Atlantic
Monthly, July 1941, for further corroboration.)
Arthur Bryant is a die-hard, reactionary Tory, biographer and admirer
of Stanley Baldwin, opponent of free trade and of economic liberalism,
sympathizer with Hitler's racial dogmas and doctrine of "Blood
and Soil." A few quotations from "Unfinished Victory"
"Adolf Hitler, unknown to all but a few, was still
in the early stages of his struggle, yet it may be said that Germany
was already seeking him."
"Hitler was acute enough to realize that the Marxist did not
stand for freedom but for a despotic uniformity, enforced by terror
and the annihilation of all who opposed them." [Hitler, in Mr.
Bryant's opinion, obviously stands for freedom and individualism.]
"Hitler's real quarrel with the capitalist and Marxist system
alike was that they stopped things from growing. They were concerned
not with creation, but the one with making quick profits and the
other with establishing an unnatural and sterile uniformity."
[Note the mystic nationalist's hatred for the merchant, the trader.]
"This damning indictment of modern society and 'its original
sin of racial corruption' constitutes the central theme of Hitler's
political philosophy. It has never been properly answered."
"The dreamer of Munich [Hitler] outlined a now organization of
society to undo a century's neglect."
"They destroyed because they were shocked ..." [Referring
to the righteous moral indignation of Hitler's storm troopers.]
"To the dispossessed millions it [Naziism] offered something
even more attractive status and responsibility."
And Bryant approvingly quotes a German as writing:
"A conquered and oppressed people has no place for
an internationally-minded and internationally-organized commerce ..."
Now let us select a few choice anti-Semitic morsels from Mr. Bryant's
"Few of the Jews who set the spiritual and cultural
fashions for Germany in the 'twenties had any comprehension of a
countryman's point of view. They were not themselves countrymen or
producers, but by
middle men: the descendants of men who had
been forced to live for centuries as exploiters [though never
landowners like Prussian Junkers or British Tories, M.J.B.] rather
than as creators.
Their inherited instinct was to skim the
cream rather than to waste vain time and effort in making enduring
They were exponents of the get-rich-quick philosophy
lovers of the flamboyant and the arts of advertisement
"... Who [the Jews) in the nineteen-twenties seemed, with all
the invincible vitality and opportunism of their race, to be making
of a broken nation their washpot."
"The lack of common purpose, the treachery of the Jews
[Emphasis mine M.J.B.] and the stranger within her too-open gates,
above all, the lack of consistent purpose in her leadership, had
consigned Germany to the lowest hell of even her unhappy history."
"And the dispossessed the lonely and dispirited men and women
who had seen their homes, their savings and their livelihood
sacrificed to the Jewish speculator when the currency collapsed
turned also to the new creed."
"To the peasant he [Hitler] promised the freedom of his land,
now mortgaged to the Jewish usurer ..."
"If one had the money, one could stay at luxurious hotels and
sit among well-dressed people -- rich Jews from Galicia or native
profiteers eating and drinking fabulously expensive food and wine."
[This refers to the blockade-caused famine right after the War.]
"Authorship in Germany almost seemed to have become a kind of
"The perversion [homosexuality M.J.B.) which has always been a
major German failing was now exploited and stimulated by Jewish
caterers who, while seldom sharing such tastes, did not hesitate to
turn them to their profit."
These few examples are at least indicative of the nature of Mr.
Bryant's prejudices. However, even a temperamental bias may
occasionally be justified by an appeal to facts, to history, or to
authority. "Unfinished Victory" is a jumble of distortions,
inaccuracies, misquotations and downright lies. Let us examine some of
the statements in Mr. Bryant's book, first those in which he quotes or
refers, as his authority, to Edgar Ansel Mowrer's "Germany Puts
the Clock Back":
"Just after the revolution, three little Jewish
clothing dealers came to Berlin from Poland. ...They had a gift of
pleasing. They received contracts for municipal uniforms and linens.
...In return they provided nearly the entire city administration
with free clothes. ...From time to time they arranged Roman banquets
with tubs of caviar and barrels of champagne. ...After a trial that
lasted three years the Sklareks were given hard labor."
But Mr. Bryant doesn't finish this quotation from Mowrer. Here is
what he omits, falsifying as he does always where the Jews are
"The Sklareks, etc., all were Jews and served
splendidly for anti-Semitic propaganda. But Dumke was incurably
Aryan. Conspicuously Aryan were the Lahusen brothers, church-going
deacons who built up a wool trust by ingenious financial jugglery.
Even worse was the case of the Devaheim, a combined bank and a
home-purchasing Co-operative under the control of the Protestant
Home Missions. The managers were nearly all Lutheran pastors. All in
all, a pretty piece of embezzlement of poor people's money by holy
and wholly Aryan crooks. Corruption under the German Republic was,
sad to say, not limited to Jews and Republicans."
Let us turn once more to Arthur Bryant:
"The same vivid writer [Mowrer] and others have
described for us those innumerable meetings that were taking place
throughout the length and breadth of a tortured land under National
Socialism. ...The speaker [Hitler] never halts for applause. The
audience remains intent, silent, absorbed as it follows every word
of his scorn, his indignation, his invincible faith."
But let us read what Mowrer himself actually has to say about it:
"If he [Hitler] stops, they howl for more. He
states the most astonishing and totally inaccurate things. He roars,
he pleads; if need be, he can weep. But he never analyzes, discusses
or argues. He affirms, attacks, comforts. According to his axiom of
aiming at the lowest in his audience, he keeps to the vaguest
generalities and formulae, repeating them with infinite verve.
"So it went on, night after night, for years. Within the
thousands were perhaps a handful who did not rise to the occasion.
They looked for persuasion and received only theatricals of a pretty
cheap type. They wanted argument and were given rhetoric and
"He [Hitler] collected and disseminated social and political
resentments, fostered special hatreds, encouraged the violent
suppression of adversaries, appealing one after the other to each of
the more brutal human instincts.
"Germans seem obsessed by a desire to obey. And Hitler so
thoroughly fostered this feeling that you could hear
National-Socialist students at Berlin University shouting in chorus:
'We spit on Freedom!'
Mr. Bryant refers to Matthias Erzberger as "the Social Democrat
politician." As a matter of fact, Erzberger was not a Social
Democrat, but a Catholic Centrist who was forced to sign the armistice
ending World War I because the Junker generals who demanded the
armistice refused to accept the onus of signing it. Erzberger, the
Catholic (not the Social Democrat), was murdered by fanatical
nationalists as a betrayer of Germany but Hindenburg was elected
President and manifested his gratitude by calling Hitler to the
chancellorship. Mr. Bryant has no word of criticism for the Junkers
who made the war, refused all possible attempts at a peace during its
course, forced the Republican government to sign the armistice, bled
the Republican government to the tune of hundreds of millions of
marks, and then aided Hitler to gain control of the German state.
"Unfinished Victory" depicts Republican Germany and the
origins and success of National Socialism completely in the manner in
which it is now being presented in the Third Reich. According to this
view, Hitler and his movement represented the inevitable and
justifiable reaction of the overwhelming majority of the German people
against the ignominy, the humiliations and the material and spiritual
sufferings engendered by the imposition of the dictate of Versailles.
They stood for the reunion of Germany with all the German-speaking
sections of Central Europe. In other words, the Nazi party, and
especially the Fuehrer, are shown to us here as the concrete political
manifestation of a Germany resurgent, a Germany reaching out to take
its rightful place among the family of nations, as the most important
power on the European continent.
This is the National Socialist fable, whole-heartedly accepted by
Arthur Bryant, and incidentally by Albert Jay Nock. What are the
actual facts in the matter, facts either utterly ignored or crudely
misrepresented in "Unfinished Victory"?
The German Army was not stabbed in the back by the treachery of the
Jews, the republicans and the radicals at home. The last offensive had
failed to reach its objective and American troops and equipment were
steadily strengthening the Allied forces. The German High Command
(Ludendorf and Hindenburg) demanded that the newly installed
republican government (the Kaiser had fled to Holland, his landed
estates inviolate, as they still are) request an armistice, refusing
to accept responsibility for the inevitable military catastrophe that
would otherwise result. In other words, the German Army was a defeated
army, incapable of further resistance to the growing power of the
Allied arms. And forever after, despite its undoubted achievements,
the republican government was unjustly associated with the defeat and
the peace treaty.
Nationalist sentiment was not slow to profit. Those elements which
later became the backbone of Nazi barbarism, directed all their
efforts to the destruction of the Republic. Political assassination
was usual, and sad to relate, treated leniently. Mr. Bryant has much
to say about Communist violence against the Hitlerites, but not a word
about the Nazi counter-violence, and the brutal assaults of both
extremist wings against the democrats and moderates.
But despite the attacks upon it, in frequent cooperation, of both
extreme Left and Right, the Republic managed to achieve the de facto
termination of the most repressive provisions of the Versailles
treaty. All foreign troops were withdrawn from German soil years
before the date provided in the Treaty. This was accomplished by
Streseman. Reparations were in effect cancelled during the period in
which Bruening held office, and while Hjalmar Schacht still professed
a belief in the democratic form of government. When Hitler finally
took power at the beginning of 1933, the Versailles Treaty's terms had
been virtually cancelled, including the disarmament clauses. And
Hitler was interested in this not to realize the just aims of the
German nation, but for the purposes of imperialist conquest, indeed
for world conquest. Recent and current events sufficiently demonstrate
It is true that Austria wished union with Germany but with the
Germany of the Weimar Republic (a step, incidentally, of which Great
Britain approved). Hitler delivered his ultimatum to Austria on March
6, 1938; Schuschnigg, the Austrian Chancellor, had planned to hold a
plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Austrian population with
respect to joining the Third Reich. But Hitler's ultimatum forbade the
plebiscite, and despite its cancellation, the German army nevertheless
invaded and absorbed Austria. Does this indicate that the Nazis had
any confidence in the desire of their Austrian neighbors to become one
But, it is said, the German people, at any rate, overwhelmingly
welcomed "the new order." No cruder lie has ever been
circulated. Hitler was a minority chancellor, and at no time in its
blood-stained career prior to the acquisition of political power, did
the Nazi party ever represent a majority of the electorate. The
largest vote it ever polled, roughly, 13,000,000, in the July, 1932
election, represented 37% of the total number cast. But a few months
later, in November, 1932, in the last free election held in Germany,
the Nazi vote dropped to approximately 11,000,000, a decline of
2,000,000 votes, and the party lost over 30 seats in the Reichstag.
The movement had passed its peak and was visibly on the wane. But
Hindenburg, under the influence of the Junker clique surrounding him
(known as the Herrenkhib), fearing an investigation into the land
frauds in which the East Prussian Junkers were deeply involved,
hastily called Hitler, the leader of a minority party, to power, in
order to prevent a threatened Reichstag investigation into this filthy
business. (This is a story which should be of particular interest to
Georgeists, but which must await another opportunity for the telling.)
But what need is there to go on? Enough has been said to indicate
that "Unfinished Victory" is a completely inaccurate and
distorted history of the forces and events leading to the conditions
which have prevailed in Hitlerian Germany since 1933. Mr. Bryant has
attempted to whitewash the horrors and atrocities of the Nazi regime,
to find justification for its existence, and to lend the weight of his
opinion (for whatever it may be worth) to the myth of a nation
betrayed not by its own sins and shortcomings but by the treachery of
its enemies within (the Jews and republicans), and the injustice and
cruelty of the world without. That the Jews represented less than 1%
of the German population, that 12,000 of them (a larger percentage
than the non-Jewish total) were killed in the first World War, that
Ludendorf invited the Polish Jews into Germany, are all facts which "Unfinished
Victory" chooses to ignore.
"Anti-Semitism is a temptation to look for evil, not
in oneself but in some other exterior quarter. It is flight from an
intellectual and moral demand upon oneself, refuge sought in a
material claim upon another, whom one can make responsible for one's
own weakness and unhappiness. Further, anti-Semitism expresses the
inclination of the present age to substitute general exterior
activity for spiritual self-transformation. The evil that we will
not recognize in our own natures we combat in the shape of a
plausible personification. We do it when we are no longer strong
enough as human beings to struggle with it directly."
These are the profoundly penetrating observations, not of one who has
always hated Hitlerism, not of a Jew seeking to defend himself and his
race, but of the former President of the Danzig Senate and close
collaborator of the Nazi regime, Hermann Rauschning, writing in his
most recent book, The Redemption of Democracy. And they
constitute a sufficient answer to the Hitlers, the Bryants, and the
However, the purpose of this article was neither a discussion, as
such, of Hitler's Germany nor of Bryant's book. It was rather an
examination of the present position of that supposed Georgeist and
Jeffersonian democrat, Albert Jay Nock, as manifested in his most
In his article on "Unfinished Victory" in Scribner's, Mr.
Nock makes the following assertions:
"No statement that he [Bryant] makes from beginning
to end, can be questioned."
"Mr. Bryant's statements are all true and are all put with the
most careful discrimination."
In view of our own careful examination of "Unfinished Victory,"
it is obvious that Mr. Nock is either deliberately attempting to
distort and mislead, or else has assumed the role of irresponsible
scribbler. He is completely unconcerned with or unaware of the need
for arming himself with some authoritative corroboration for the
point-of-view he so unqualifiedly endorses.
The history of the German Republic, and of the rise of National
Socialism have been exhaustively documented, developed and discussed.
There is literally no end of accurate and trustworthy sources of
information in this field. But Mr. Nock chooses to stand sponsor for a
book that might almost have originated from Goebbel's German Ministry
of Propaganda. So we shall gently draw the veil by charitably
supposing that Mr. Nock's present attitude is due to ignorance, and in
order to help him (and others who share his prejudices) to avoid
similar mistakes in any future treatment of the subject, we are
appending the following bibliography:
- la Revolution of Nihilism Hermann Rauschning.
- The Voice of Destruction Hermann Rauschning.
- The Rise of the German Republic H. G. Daniels.
- The Fall of the German Republic R. T. Clark.
- The History of National Socialism Konrad Heiden.
- Hitler. Konrad Heiden.
- The Fascist: His State and His Mind E.B. Ashtun.
- Inside Germany Albert Greszinsky.
- Men Against Hitler Fritz Max Cahen.
- The Nazi Dictatorship Fredericli Schuman.
- Fascism for Whom? Max Ascoli.
- Germany Enters the Third Reich Culvin Hoover.
- Nazi Germany Means War. Leland Stowe.
- The New German Empire Franz Borkenau.
- The End of Economic Man. Peter F. Drucker.
- The German Republic. H. Quigley and R. T. Clark.
- The Third Reich. Henri Lichtenberger.
- The Burning of the Reichstag. Douglas Reed.
- Militarism. Karl Liebknecht.
- The Recovery of Germany. James Angell.
- Fascism and National Socialism. Michael T. Florinsky.
- War Against the West. Aurel Kolnai.
- Peace With the Dictators? Norman Angell.
- My Austria. Kurt Schuschnigg.
- The Vampire Economy. Guenter Reimann.
- Battle Against Time. Heinrich Hauser.
- German Economy, 1870-1940. Gustav Stolper.
- The Strategy of Terror. Edmond Taylor.
- France Speaking. Robert de St. Jean.
- Unto Caesar. F. A. Voigt.
- Out of the Night. Jan Valtin.
(Mr. Nock thinks that Valtin's book is simply war-mongering
anti-German propaganda, and almost purely fictional. He is referred to
a review of the same by the Rev. H. A. Reinhold in The Commonweal
for March 28, 1941.)
In addition to the above, the following are Nazi sources, or
sympathetic to National Socialism. They tell their own damning story:
- Mein Kampf. Adolf Hitler.
- Germany Reborn. Hermann Goering.
- My Part in Germany's Fight. Joseph Goebbels.
- Hitler's Official Programme and its Fundamental Ideas.
- Man and Technics. Oswald Spengler.
- The Hour of Decision. Oswald Spengler.
- The End of [?]. Hjalmar Schacht.
- A New Social Philosophy. Werner Sombart.
- Germany Prepares for War. Ewald Banse.